Oakland Athletics – MLB Trade Rumors 2019-10-23T04:01:14Z https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/feed/atom WordPress Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Pitchers Recently Electing Free Agency]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=177773 2019-10-22T15:43:42Z 2019-10-22T14:56:58Z Since the conclusion of the regular season, a number of players have elected free agency. That right accrues to certain players who are outrighted off of a 40-man roster during or after the season — namely, those that have at least three years of MLB service and/or have previously been outrighted. Such players that accepted outright assignments during the season have the right to elect free agency instead at season’s end, provided they aren’t added back to the 40-man in the meantime.

We already rounded up the position players. Now, here are the pitchers that have recently taken to the open market, along with their now-former teams (via the International League and PCL transactions pages):

Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Position Players Recently Electing Free Agency]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=177772 2019-10-22T14:43:24Z 2019-10-22T12:06:20Z Since the conclusion of the regular season, a number of players have elected free agency. That right accrues to certain players who are outrighted off of a 40-man roster during or after the season — namely, those that have at least three years of MLB service and/or have previously been outrighted. Such players that accepted outright assignments during the season have the right to elect free agency instead at season’s end, provided they aren’t added back to the 40-man in the meantime.

Here are the position players that have recently taken to the open market, along with their now-former teams (via the International League and PCL transactions pages):

George Miller <![CDATA[Athletics Announce Changes To Player Development Department]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=177608 2019-10-19T21:53:37Z 2019-10-19T21:53:37Z The Athletics announced on Thursday that Keith Lieppman will step down from his post as director of player development and transition to a role as a special adviser to the front office. He’ll be succeeded by Ed Sprague, who has been promoted after serving as Lieppman’s assistant director for the last year.

Lieppman, 70, has become something of a legend within the Athletics organization, which he has served for nearly five decades dating to the early 1970s when the team drafted him in the second round. Between his years as a player, minor league manager, and executive, Lieppman has had his hand in decades of great Athletics baseball. He requested to step away from his position in order to spend more time with his family, recommending Sprague to replace him.

Sprague has served in the player development department for the last four seasons, first as an instruction coordinator before earning the title of assistant director for the 2019 season. He has also worked as the organization’s coordinator of on-field analytics, integrating the team’s analytic systems into the player development process. A former Major League All-Star, Sprague also served as the head coach for the University of Pacific prior to joining the Athletics.

Organizational figures like Sprague and Lieppman, who operate largely behind the scenes, often go unnoticed and under-appreciated since it’s awfully hard to quantify their contributions. Still, it seems that the Athletics’ player development department has enjoyed quite a bit of success with Lieppman at the helm. The current roster boasts a wealth of homegrown talent, including stars Matt Olson and Matt Chapman, with A.J. Puk and others on the way. Sean Manaea and Jesus Luzardo, though they were drafted by other clubs, have spent the majority of their careers with Oakland. Of course, that’s only recently: the organization has also drafted and developed stars like Barry Zito, Eric Chavez, Nick Swisher, and more.

Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[A's Name Ed Sprague Director Of Player Development]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=177459 2019-10-21T21:14:18Z 2019-10-18T00:53:48Z
  • The Athletics have promoted Ed Sprague to director of player development, as per a team press release (Twitter link).  Sprague will take over from Keith Lieppman, who has served in the role for the last 28 seasons as part of a 49-year run in the organization.  Lieppman will become a special advisor to the player development department.  Sprague, perhaps best known as a starting third baseman for the Blue Jays during his 11-year playing career, has worked in Oakland’s front office for the past four years.
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    Dylan A. Chase <![CDATA[Latest On Oakland Stadium Dispute]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=177282 2019-10-15T16:32:35Z 2019-10-15T16:32:35Z Sarah Ravani of the San Francisco Chronicle reports new details in the ongoing litigation taking place between Alameda County and the city of Oakland (link). To recap, Alameda County engaged in negotiations with both the city of Oakland and the Oakland A’s organization in an attempt to offload its share of the Oakland Coliseum and the Oakland Arena. With the stipulation that the city would pay upfront, Alameda County offered to sell its share of debt to Oakland for $78MM back in February–that offer was ignored on Oakland’s part.

    Interestingly, though, the plot thickened from there: as Ravani characterizes it, that “snub” prompted Alameda officials to pivot to the Athletics, to whom they offered to sell their debt for $85MM. This time, however, the county would allow the A’s seven years to pay off the sum–with the very important caveat that the A’s would have to remain in Oakland. “The A’s were able to spread their terms out … whereas the county wanted us to pay it all up front,” Oakland Councilman Loren Taylor says in Ravani’s article, “From my perspective, we still need to have a conversation about the same terms that the A’s were given.”

    The city and county are currently embroiled in a lawsuit intended to block the county from selling its stadium stake to the A’s, which has put something in a wrench in the team’s plans to develop a new stadium project. This state of affairs caused commissioner Rob Manfred to comment that he was “very concerned” at the litigation and the overall lack of “concrete progress” toward a new playing site for Oakland. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaff later indicated to KTVU that Manfred has proposed the possibility of relocation to Las Vegas, with the Chronicle also relaying a similar suggestion on the part of Manfred.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Mark Kotsay Drawing Pirates' Interest]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=177270 2019-10-15T04:03:43Z 2019-10-15T04:03:43Z
  • The Pirates have reached out to Athletics quality control coach Mark Kotsay to gauge his interest in managing the Bucs, Nubyjas Wilborn of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette relays. The 43-year-old Kotsay was a major league outfielder/first baseman from 1997-2013 who has since worked in coaching and front office roles between San Diego and Oakland. He interviewed for San Francisco’s managerial opening last week.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Matt Williams To Manage KBO’s KIA Tigers]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=177252 2019-10-15T01:47:38Z 2019-10-15T01:45:32Z While managerial rumors are flying around the majors, we haven’t yet seen a team land a new skipper. But the Korea Baseball Organization’s KIA Tigers have secured their next manager in the form of Matt Williams, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network (via Twitter).

    Williams is said to have struck a three-year deal to head to Korea. The long-time big-league slugger had served as the Athletics’ third base coach for the past three campaigns.

    Of course, the most notable aspect of Williams’s post-playing days came with the Nationals. He became the D.C. skipper in advance of the 2014 after a coaching stint with the Diamondbacks.

    Things went well in 2014, with Williams helping to guide the Nats to a division title. While the club was bounced in the divisional series, he earned manager of the year honors. But the club endured a highly disappointing 2015 campaign and fired Williams at season’s end.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Pirates To Interview Ryan Christenson For Managerial Opening]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=177234 2019-10-14T23:30:36Z 2019-10-14T23:29:26Z The Pirates will interview Ryan Christenson for their managerial opening, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter link). It appears he’s the first known candidate for the Pittsburgh opening to hold a sit-down.

    Christenson, 45, saw action in six MLB campaigns after being drafted and developed by the A’s. He never gained much traction as a player in the majors, but he’s looking to do so on the coaching/managerial front after steadily re-ascending the Oakland farm system as a skipper.

    For the past two years, Christenson has served as bench coach to veteran Athletics manager Bob Melvin. Christenson could be seen as a possible eventual successor to Melvin, but the long-time helmsman remains under contract tin his role through 2021.

    There are, of course, other names connected with the Bucs’ opening. But it’s not clear which, if any, have scheduled formal discussions with the Pittsburgh brass.

    Dylan A. Chase <![CDATA[Bruce Maxwell On Tumultuous Time With Athletics ]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=177092 2019-10-12T23:18:13Z 2019-10-12T23:04:21Z Former Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell is a player known more for his ideological stances than for his performance on the diamond, but that hasn’t stopped the backstop from turning a few heads while playing in Mexico this season. The San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser can be counted as one who has taken the time to notice Maxwell’s torrid production south of the border, as the veteran scribe profiled the catcher’s attempts to resurrect a career impacted, in part, by his decision to kneel during the national anthem in 2017 (link). The now-28-year-old Maxwell hit .325 with 25 homers in 2019 while playing for the Acereros de Monclova, a team that also featured fellow former Athletic Chris Carter. But, as Slusser points out, it’s far from clear if Maxwell’s foreign success will be enough to entice teams to overlook the “political baggage” (Slusser’s words) associated with him.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[A's Mark Kotsay Interviews With Giants]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=176932 2019-10-11T19:11:55Z 2019-10-11T05:26:03Z The Giants interviewed Athletics quality control coach Mark Kotsay for their vacant managerial position Monday, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle relays (Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported the Giants’ interest in Kotsay last week). Although Kotsay’s the only known outside candidate the Giants have interviewed thus far — it appears bench coach Hensley Meulens has already had a sit-down — president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi has indicated they’ll likely speak with to six eight individuals in their search to replace Bruce Bochy. Kotsay and Zaidi entered the process with at least some familiarity, as the latter was a member of the A’s front office when the former was an outfielder with the club from 2004-07.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Athletics’ Sean Murphy Undergoes Knee Surgery]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=176876 2019-10-10T23:39:21Z 2019-10-10T23:39:21Z Athletics catcher Sean Murphy underwent a lateral meniscal debridement procedure on his left knee today, as per a team announcement.  The surgery addresses the meniscus problems that plagued Murphy this season (leading to a pair of stints on the Triple-A injured list), and the young backstop “is expected to be ready for Spring Training.”

    Knee surgery isn’t exactly the best way to celebrate a birthday, as Murphy turns 25 years old today.  But, given how the youngster performed in his first taste of MLB action even while not at 100 percent, a clean bill of health makes Murphy seem like an even more intriguing prospect going forward, and a strong candidate to assume the everyday catching duties for the Athletics for next season.

    Murphy hit .245/.333/.566 with four home runs over his first 60 Major League plate appearances, all but one of which took place in September.  With the A’s battling for a wild card berth, Murphy’s performance earned him an increasingly larger share of the playing time alongside veteran catcher Josh Phegley, and Murphy ended up getting the start in Oakland’s wild card game loss to the Rays.

    After three impressive years at Wright State, Murphy was a third-round pick for the A’s in the 2016 draft and continued to impress as he worked his way up the minor league ladder.  Murphy hit .267/.341/.456 over 966 career PA in the minors, showing up strong offensive potential to go along with his highly-touted defensive skills.  Fangraphs ranks Murphy as the 29th-best prospect in baseball, with MLB.com (43rd) and Baseball America (52nd) also issuing strong placements on their top-100 prospects lists.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Manfred Reportedly Told Oakland Officials That A’s Could Move To Las Vegas]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=176606 2019-10-08T17:13:08Z 2019-10-08T16:55:59Z Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf said today that Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred has indicated that he sees Las Vegas, Nevada as a possible relocation spot for the Athletics, Sal Castaneda of KTVU reports on Twitter. Manfred’s threat of exploring options in Vegas had been reported recently by the San Francisco Chronicle.

    The newly combative stance from MLB’s top official arose after the city of Oakland filed a surprise suit to block a major portion of the A’s stadium plans. Manfred’s already reported comments conveyed a thinly veiled warning that the team and league could consider alternatives. But it was not known that he had specifically floated Las Vegas as a realistic possibility.

    Vegas holds particular allure for Major League Baseball and special meaning to Oakland-area fans. After all, Sin City just lured away the Raiders with a massively subsidized new stadium. Whether or not there’s further appetite in Nevada for taxpayer-funded facilities isn’t really clear, but it is at least a facially plausible threat for the commissioner to make. Notably, though, local officials said they were unaware of any actual discussions to this point, per the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Several other cities have been mentioned at times as potential relocation spots, but it’s not clear which if any would be serious possibilities with the Rays already flirting with Montreal.

    Manfred has made clear plenty of times in the past that his strong preference is for the Athletics to remain in Oakland. And the A’s have worked hard to come up with a workable plan built around private financing (which isn’t to say that significant public support wouldn’t be involved). There are surely still plenty of pathways for that result, though it’s also certain that team and league have little appetite for too many more campaigns in the Coliseum.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[A’s Rumors: Treinen, Profar, Pending FAs]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=176262 2019-10-04T05:20:48Z 2019-10-04T05:20:48Z We’ve seen quite a bit of news on the Athletics since their season ended with Wednesday’s wild-card loss to the Rays. Here’s even more on the A’s, courtesy of Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (links here):

    • It’s “likely” the Athletics will non-tender or trade right-handed reliever Blake Treinen, according to Slusser, who also names second baseman Jurickson Profar as someone who’s in danger of winding up on the outs. Just a year ago at this time, Treinen was coming off perhaps one of the greatest seasons a reliever has ever posted. It would have unthinkable then that the A’s would be considering cutting the cord on him 12 months later, but it’s now understandable in light of his rough 2019. Injuries limited Treinen to 58 2/3 innings, and his numbers declined across the board when he was able to take the mound. Treinen recorded a 4.91 ERA/5.14 FIP with 9.05 K/9 and 5.68 BB/9 before his season ended in mid-September because of a stress reaction in his back. Although Treinen lost his job as the A’s closer this year, the saves he has amassed will help him in the arbitration process, where he’d be in line to collect a raise over the $6.4MM he earned in 2019. But the low-budget A’s could simply choose to walk away from the 31-year-old after his nightmarish campaign.
    • Profar, like Treinen, entered the season as a player the A’s were counting on to successfully fill a big role. After acquiring the switch-hitter from the Rangers last winter, Oakland gave Profar ample opportunity to build on a career-best 2018 this season. Instead, Profar stumbled to an uninspiring .218/.301/.410 batting line in 518 plate appearances and earned negative grades at the keystone (minus-10 DRS, minus-1 UZR). The 26-year-old, who made $3.6MM in ’19, has one more season of arbitration eligibility remaining.
    • The Athletics may have too many starters lined up for 2020 to justify re-signing pending free-agent left-hander Brett Anderson. The same likely goes for fellow soon-to-be FA starters Homer Bailey and Tanner Roark, Slusser suggests. The A’s acquired both righties over the summer, and the team ended up receiving surprisingly decent production from Bailey after years of struggles with multiple franchises. The 33-year-old Bailey, who told Slusser he “really enjoyed” his stint as an Athletic, pitched to a 4.30 ERA with 8.3 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 across 73 1/3 innings in their uniform. Roark managed similar numbers in his 55 frames as a member of the club, with which he notched a 4.58 ERA and put up 8.2 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9.
    • Lefty reliever Jake Diekman, yet another in-season trade pickup, could also depart in the next several weeks. However, the A’s at least figure to discuss retaining him, Slusser relays. He has a $5.75MM mutual option (or a $500K buyout) for next season. Diekman struggled mightily with his control as an Athletic this year, though, as he issued 16 walks, allowed 16 hits and yielded 10 earned runs in a 20 1/3-inning sample.
    • This was a stunningly poor season for designated hitter Khris Davis, whom the team signed to a two-year, $33.5MM extension in April. At that point, Davis was coming off three consecutive 40-home run seasons and a remarkable four straight in which he batted .247. Both streaks came to an end this year, in which Davis hit .220/.293/.387 with 23 HRs in 533 trips to the plate as he dealt with injuries. But Davis “wasn’t injured at the end of the year,” said manager Bob Melvin, who expects a bounce-back performance from the slugger in 2020. Executive vice president Billy Beane shares Melvin’s optimism, saying he looks for a return to Davis’ “annual 40 homers, .247” next year.
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Latest On Yusmeiro Petit]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=176236 2019-10-04T02:04:02Z 2019-10-04T02:04:02Z With their 2019 campaign officially in the rearview mirror, the Athletics can get to work on offseason decisions. One of the choices they’ll have to make soon centers on right-hander Yusmeiro Petit’s future. The soon-to-be 35-year-old reliever has a $5.5MM club option for 2020, though he said after Wednesday’s wild-card loss to the Rays that he hasn’t heard whether the A’s will exercise it, per Martin Gallegos of MLB.com. But Petit wants to remain an Athletic, Gallegos writes, and he has definitely made a strong case to do just that.

    Formerly a member of the Giants, Nationals and Angels, Petit joined the A’s for a two-year, $10MM guarantee in November 2017. He was coming off a career campaign with the Halos at that point, as he led all relievers in innings and notched a 2.76 ERA/2.85 FIP with 9.95 K/9 and 1.77 BB/9 across 91 1/3 frames.

    Petit has continued his ways as an effective workhorse during his run in Oakland, where he has amassed another 176 innings of low-ERA ball (2.86). He’s now fresh off an 83-frame season in which he led the league in appearances (80) and logged a career-best 2.71 ERA with his highest swinging-strike rate (11.4 percent) since 2014.

    The soft-throwing Petit benefited in 2019 from a .213 batting average on balls in play against and thrived despite a 29.9 percent groundball rate. As a result, there’s a certain amount of skepticism in regards to his stingy run prevention, with ERA indicators FIP (3.59), xFIP (4.48) and SIERA (3.90) painting a gloomier picture. However, it’s worth noting Petit greatly aided his cause by doling out few free passes and limiting damaging contact. Petit walked a meager 1.08 hitters per nine, which helped him overcome a below-average strikeout rate (7.7 K/9). Plus, according to Statcast, Petit ranked in the majors’ 83rd percentile in average exit velocity against (86.6 mph) and its 91st percentile in expected weighted on-base average (.264, compared to the actual .243 wOBA hitters mustered off him).

    Although the A’s are regularly one of the majors’ lowest-payroll teams, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them retain Petit for what looks like a reasonable salary. They’ll officially decide what to do with him, not to mention fellow established veteran relievers Jake Diekman (mutual option) and Blake Treinen (non-tender or trade possibility), in the approaching weeks.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Brett Anderson Interested In Re-Signing With Athletics]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=176117 2019-10-03T04:53:34Z 2019-10-03T04:51:39Z The Athletics’ season reached an early conclusion Wednesday with a 5-1 loss to the Rays in the wild-card round. The A’s defeat may have brought an unofficial end to left-hander Brett Anderson’s time with the franchise, though he hopes that’s not the case. The pending free agent told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that he wants to return to the A’s in 2020. However, Anderson suggested there may not be room for him in Oakland anymore because of the collection of starters the team already has under control for next season.

    Anderson, who first joined the A’s in a significant 2007 trade with the Diamondbacks, made his debut in ’09 and quickly established himself as one of the majors’ premier young starters. Unfortunately, injuries were consistently an issue for Anderson in Oakland, which ended up dealing him to Colorado prior to 2014. Anderson has pitched in the bigs for a few other teams since then (the Dodgers, Blue Jays and Cubs), with injuries remaining an all-too-frequent occurrence.

    To Anderson’s credit, after an adverse 2017 divided between Chicago and Toronto, he has reestablished himself as a legitimate MLB starter over the past two years. He reunited with the Athletics on a minor league deal going into 2018, and while it went down as another injury-shortened season for Anderson, he proved to be a quality low-risk pickup for the club. Anderson wound up notching 80 1/3 innings of 4.48 ERA/4.17 FIP ball with 5.27 K/9, 1.46 BB/9 and a typically high groundball rate (55.6 percent) to help the A’s ride a patchwork rotation to a playoff spot.

    Anderson’s bounce-back performance last year earned him a big league deal last offseason, when he stuck with Oakland for a guaranteed $1.5MM. Again, signing Anderson for a relative pittance worked out beautifully for the A’s. The 31-year-old Anderson put together one of his healthiest seasons ever in 2019, totaling 176 innings and logging a 3.89 ERA with 2.51 walks per nine and a 54.5 percent grounder mark. At the same time, though, Anderson struck out a paltry 4.6 hitters per nine – by far the fewest among qualified starters – while his 4.57 FIP, 4.79 xFIP and 5.17 SIERA all lagged miles behind his ERA. The soft-tossing Anderson wasn’t a Statcast favorite this year, either, ranking near the bottom of the league in the majority of its notable categories.

    Skepticism seems warranted in regards to Anderson’s output this season, but it’s quite possible his grounder-heavy ways would continue to yield good results in Oakland. After all, the A’s boast three outstanding defensive infielders in third baseman Matt Chapman, shortstop Marcus Semien and first baseman Matt Olson. Still, the A’s might not welcome back Anderson, who figures to land a raise on a second straight guaranteed pact. Barring offseason changes or injuries (which they’ve dealt with much too often of late), they could easily enter next spring with Frankie Montas, Sean Manaea, Jesus Luzardo, Mike Fiers, A.J. Puk and Chris Bassitt as either locks or strong contenders for rotation spots.